Editorial- High Voltage
A beautiful, well-tended traffic circle used to welcome people arriving in Herzliya – something fresh and pleasant, generally in line with the very good landscape architecture at the area. This being the case, the sudden appearance of a large sculpture, charged with significance, was an enigma for the citys surprised residents. Profound observation of the sculpture, made of the metal construction used for high voltage towers, easily emphasizes the ideological message transmitted by the electrified figures. The sculpture is set against a background consisting of a 'grove' of electricity pillars, which illustrate on a daily basis modern humankinds irrefutable dependence on this 'thrill'. The life-giving energy provided by the turbines, operating day and night, often reminds us of their vital importance – especially when they stop working at the hottest point of an August day – and even more so, of our undemocratic dependence on the largest monopoly in Israel, the Israel Electric Corporation.
The same company on whose behalf and for whose sake the power station buildings were erected in the 1930s by the great architects – Baerwald, Kaufmann and Mendelsohn – now, more than any other entity, threatens the appearance of our environment. The threat is posed by the ugly connection boxes standing in front of every building in Israel, by the cables running up, down, back and forth across our streets, and by the monstrous transmission substations which reflect arrogant belligerence.
As for the sculpture, designed by Rafi Pelled (the general manager of the Electricity Company), it is not hard to reach the conclusion that it is a work of art in its own right. The question is, if some (much appreciated) person in the Municipality wants to give artists a chance to display the fruit of their labors, why not take advantage of the opportunity and place the sculpture where it can be viewed at leisure, in a less well-tended environment which needs a bit of artistic encouragement? Did anyone in the Municipality consider that the sculpture, which blocks the field of vision, constitutes a traffic hazard? After all, the 'Artostrada' – the Israel Electric Corporations large-scale environmental project, which is putting up sculptures on the roads around the Orot Rabin power station in Hadera, has already been sharply criticized by traffic experts.
And in any event, how can the Herzliya residents be to blame if Israel Electric Corporation employees spend their free time (which is paid for by each and every one of us) creating art? Actually, one might say they are to blame; after all, Herzliya is about to 'donate' its outgoing Mayor to the Israel Electric Corporation. As an observer on the sidelines, who has no direct interest in this matter, I checked into it at the Municipality (whose institutions were all surprised to hear the sculpture had been erected) and it turned out that there really is no connection between the fact that the Mayor is losing control of the city for the sake of gaining control of the Electric Corporation. I have no choice but to conclude that the timing selected was quite coincidental.
Still, the citys residents should understand that 'release on bail' has its price.